In North Judson and Michigan City last Saturday night, a shared sentiment was expressed by the hoop-crazed fans in Northwest Indiana:
"I hope Munster and Bishop Noll get to play at the same semistate."
With Class 4A No. 1 Munster beating Valparaiso 40-38 to win the City regional, coach Mike Hackett's Mustangs advanced to the semistate.
With Class 2A No. 2 Noll beating Westview 51-41 to win the Judson regional, coach Drew Trost's Warriors advanced to the semistate.
I, like every other boys basketball fan in our beloved area, hoped and prayed and spoke about how much fun it would be if Noll and Munster were pitted in the same gym today.
But while all of us were hoping, IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox and assistant commissioner Phil Gardner were also communicating. The two looked at all 16 teams left in Indiana's four classes and put together a rough draft of which four teams should be in which four semistates.
Cox and Gardner were not sitting at the same table. Cox was in Chicago and Gardner was in Indianapolis. Via email the two picked the same teams at the same gyms.
Noll will be playing at the Huntington North Semistate at noon today. Munster will be at the Lafayette Jeff Semistate.
Get out your gas cards. If you are brave enough to see both games, you're looking at a 90-mile drive on a non-Interstate road.
And this isn't Bobby Cox's fault. Blame Rockville. If Rockville doesn't win then Noll and Munster are probably playing at Jeff today.
"We have to look at all 16 teams left and geography is a big part of what we look at," Cox said. "When Rockville won, we had to send them to Lafayette. We couldn't send them across the state to Huntington."
The other option that would've made the state's red-headed step children happy would have been to send Munster, also, to Huntington. But then Culver Academy and Columbia City would've had to drive to Lafayette, which would be silly.
"In an ideal world it would've been nice to have Noll and Munster at the same place," Cox said.
But we all know the world we live in is not ideal.
And we are not alone. Indianapolis Park Tudor is driving to Seymour instead of nearby Southport, where two other Indy teams will play.
Cox said that when they looked at how fans in our area might want to see both Noll and Munster play, the IHSAA decided to make sure there was enough time between tip offs in order for that to be accomplished.
Noll's game starts at noon. Munster's at 5:45. Enough time. If you have a gas card.
"We have to make a judgment call," Cox said.
As much as I would've liked to see Noll and Munster in the same gym this week, I can be patient. Both squads will be in the same gym next Saturday.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.